Kwara government has reiterated commitment to sports development, to discover budding talents.
The State Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, stated this on Wednesday in Ilorin while receiving the National President of the Handball Federation of Nigeria HFN, Mr Samuel Ocheho in his office.
Mr Alabi stated that the move was to enable youths realised their potential and reduce poverty in the society.
Speaking to the seven athletes from the state that represented the country, he urged them to be focus, determine and train hard to excel in their field.
“I am proud and ready to do my best to promote sports, especially Handball.
“As as a former player that represented the state in the late 70s, I will try as much as possible to improve the sport” Alabi promised.
The deputy governor described sports as a unifying factor and available tool to eradicate poverty in the country.
He called on the Federation to expose the players and support them to international standard and professional level.
Earlier, Ocheho praised the state for producing Youth Athletes that had been representing the nation in the underage championship, adding that 7 female players from the state were part of the 14-man squad that represented the nation recently.
Ocheho said the state won the U-21 championship in Lagos, adding that the National Youth Games among others, adding that the state had now turned to be the hub of female handball.
The President of the Federation, who commended the state government for its determination to rehabilitate the indoor Sports Hall, called for partnership with the government to host U-12 and U-15 championship.
He disclosed that the female handball players would participate in the forthcoming under age championship tagged “Partlle Cup” in Sweden next year, to further give them international exposure.(NAN)
Edited by Dada Ahmed
Collapsed Bridge: KWSG condoles victims’ families
The Kwara Government has commiserated with the families of those who died following the collapse of the embankment of Oko-Erin bridge in Ilorin.
Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi, while inspecting the collapsed bridge on Sunday, described the accident as disheartening.
Alabi said that any loss of life “is tragic and traumatic’’, urging the people to desist from dumping refuse in drainages or erecting structures on waterways to prevent flooding or erosion.
He sympathised with the affected families and urged the rescue team to double efforts to locate missing persons.
Speaking earlier, Deputy Director, Kwara State Fire Service, Falade John confirmed that the accident happened on Saturday evening when the embankment gave way.
A Toyota Avensis car with five passengers on board fell off the bridge at the time the embankment broke off.
John said two people survived from the accident with bruises; the service recovered a dead body while two persons were still missing.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Kwara State Emergency Management Agency, Mrs Motunrayo Adaran, assured that the agency would spare no effort to find the missing persons.
She said that the road has now been cordoned off for safety reasons.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
COVID-19: CSOs urge KWSG to review 2020 budget downward
The Converner, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Mr Abdulrrahman Ayuba, on Tuesday called on Kwara Government to set in motion process to review 2020 budget of N162 billion downward.
The Coalition is operating under the aegis of Kwara CSOs Working Group on COVID-19.
Ayuba made the call in a statement he co-signed with the Secretary, Abdulrasaq Kareem in Ilorin.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Coalition was made up of various non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit making Organisations across the State.
It includes Organisation for the Sustenance of the Nigerian Environment (OSNE), Media Advocacy and Technology Centre (MATEC), Grassroots Development Monitoring and Advocacy Centre (GDMAC) and Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE).
Also, Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA), Initiative for the Visionary Education and Social Support (IVESS), Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), Brain Builders International (BBI) and Meadows Community and Development Outreach (MCDO).
Others are Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Kwara Chapter, Theios Caregiver Initiatives, YAHF-Nigeria and the Initiative to Reawaken Kwara Citizenry of Civic Education and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC).
The group is working toward providing support to the government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, including public awareness and monitoring distribution of relief materials to the vulnerable across the State.
According to Ayuba, the call for a review of the budgetary estimate become necessary due to the fall in crude oil price to less than
He said the oil price fall would affect the statutory allocation to the state.
Ayuba added that the internally generated revenue would also be adversely affected due to the lockdown order following the outbreak of Coronavirus globally.
” Kwara government should set in motion the process of reviewing the N162 billion, 2020 budget as its implementation has become evidently unrealistic.
“This is to mitigate against the possible effects of the likely huge drop in government revenue from the statutory allocation and the internally generated revenue already hampered by the lockdown.
”It will also ensure that government fulfill her obligations to the citizens in the face of the current realities,” he said.
Ayuba said the Coalition was happy with the 17.1 per cent the state’s total budget allocation to health sector in the 2020 fiscal year in line with the 2001 Abuja declaration.
He said the Coalition would want the state government to promptly release and utilise the health budget.
Ayuba said the government should work closely with CSOs working groups on COVID-19 to achieve a greater and common goal.
He said the government should provide more protective and sanitary materials to frontline health workers and other essential workers engaged in containing the spread of the deadly virus.
The Converner commended the government proactiveness through various policies on COVID-19 such as the formation of the State Technical Committees on COVID-19 and the Sub-Committee on Palliative Distribution.
Others, he said, were the initial partial and total lockdown, all aimed at stemming the negative consequences of the spread of the deadly and infectious disease.
“We hope that if these efforts are sustained, the state may not record more cases of the COVID-19 virus beyond the four at hand.
“This will therefore prevent the risk of mortality and safeguard the available resources for other meaningful projects,” he said.
Ayuba also commended the government’s involvement of CSOs in the monitoring of the palliative distribution by sub-committee on Palliative Distribution after the initial exclusion.
“The inclusion CSOs in all the government committees on response to the COVID-19 pandemic will help to complement government’s efforts and increase public compliance to government directives, promote transparency, accountability, and enhance public trust.
“We urge government to regularly publish the donations of funds and relief materials donated by different groups and individuals are to support the state government on its official website and the extent of utilisation of the fund.
“This will create trust and attract more donors within and outside the state including Kwarans in diaspora, who wish to support the government effort but are skeptical about government ability to utilise the fund effectively,” he said.
Ayuba said that the mistrust was due to the lack of openness that had characterised governance in the country.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Xmas: CAS holds feast for troops in N/East, calls for commitment
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has tasked officers and personnel to be committed and maintain combat-readiness to end insurgency and restore peace in the Northeast.
Abubakar made the call on Wednesday at a feast organised to mark the Christmas celebration at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), 105 Composite Command, Maiduguri.
Abubakar, represented by AVM I.O Amao, the Director of Training and Operations, said the event was organised to appreciate the personnel over their gallantry and selfless contributions to the successful implementation of the counter insurgency campaign.
He noted that such celebration with troops at the frontline during festive period would make them feel at home and foster comradeship.
The CAS urged them to remain committed, focus and vigilant in the fight against insurgency.
“I am happy to be here this afternoon to celebrate the Christmas with all of you. It has been my tradition since the beginning of my administration to dine with my officers and men during festive periods, especially those at the front line.
“This is to fill the void created by our inability to be with our families for the festivities. The get-together is aimed at fostering comradeship and give us the opportunity to commend ourselves for our efforts in the fight against insurgency.
“I must commend the Air Task Force Commander (ATF) and his personnel for their efforts in ensuring that the activities of the units in the Northeast are running smoothly; and the tempo of operations is being maintained.
“The NAF and the country at large appreciates your efforts at restoring normalcy and peaceful coexistence in the Northeast.
“However; we should always remember that it is not over, there is still a lot to be done. We must redouble our efforts to completely rid the Northeast of the terrorists to enable people go about their businesses in peace.
“You are aware that so much is at stake in the theater and a lot expected from us, thus, we cannot allow ourselves to be taken unawares.
“I implore you to remain committed and focus on the objective of the operation while you remain vigilant to protect property and men as well as equipment put under your care,” he said.
According to him, the service had adopted proactive measures to address challenges facing its operations, provide additional plant forms and improve personnel welfare.
The CAS reiterated commitment to rout out remnants of the insurgents in the region and Lake Chad basin.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari over his support to the service, Abubakar lauded the personnel over successful completion of “Operation Rattle Snake I”.
Also, Air Commodore Precious Amadi, the Air Task Force Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), commended Abubakar over his support toward the improvement of its operations and well being of the personnel.
“You are here once again to celebrate Christmas with us. This rare gesture is not only a huge source of motivation, but also a staunch indication of the CAS commitment to the welfare and morale of personnel.
“It also demonstrates the solidarity you have for your men and your thirst to give them a sense of belonging,” he said.
Amadi reiterated the commitment of the personnel to remain loyal, discipline and professional in the discharge of their duties.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was attended by senior officers, airmen and representatives of the Gomari community of Maiduguri.
Edited by: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Israel reaffirms commitment to partnering Nigeria on agric technology, entrepreneurship devt
Israel has affirmed its commitment to collaborating with Nigeria on developing agricultural technology and promoting entrepreneurship to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, made this known in his address at the opening of the three-day Israel-Nigeria Agrinnovation seminar 2019 which held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The event, organised by the Embassy of Israel in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo began on Dec. 10 and is expected to end on Dec. 13.
Theme of the seminar was “No room for small dreams”.
According to the Israeli envoy, the Nigerian government in its effort to deliver economic growth has developed entrepreneurship initiatives, policies, and programmes to meet the growing need for a more diverse economy.
Ben-Shoshan said, “Specifically in the instance of innovation, this has become more apparent in technology ecosystems thriving in Abuja, Lagos, Adamawa, Edo, and Plateau states.
Israel, popularly referred to as the ‘Start-up Nations’ is renowned for its vibrant ecosystem of innovation.
With this, Israel is willing to provide a higher leverage through multi-faceted collaborations that cut across sectors with empowering results.
The Agrinnovation seminar will focus on impressing the benefit that technology brings to agriculture.
Israeli experts are eager to provide useful lessons that can be adopted and applied in the Nigerian context.
It is our belief that technology and entrepreneurship are closely linked and essential in building emerging markets.
We believe that Agrinnovation will help in bridging the capacity gap in Nigeria’s agriculture industry.
Speaking in an interview with Nigeria News Agency , Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger-Delta Affairs said that the Agrinnovation concept would strengthen relations between Israel and Nigeria.
Even if you are a permanent secretary, you are a minister. You should contribute to agricultural development.
Everybody should be encouraged to have alternative means of income.
Every person should be involved in agriculture.
Now they have best food in the world and the best of water. So it is for us to take this challenge and get the best for our population,” Enang said.
In his remarks, Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation, an NGO, acknowledged the Agrinnovation intiative, saying it is capable of encouraging young people to tackle problems in agriculture sector.
Elumelu, represented by Mrs Owen Omogiafo, Managing Director of Transcorp Hotels Plc, said that the importance of agriculture to the economy could not be overemphasised.
He said, “If we get it right, the agriculture sector represents Africa’s greatest opportunity … to lift millions out of poverty.
To achieve this, agriculture will need to move from basic subsistence farming to more productive, efficient, and mechanised operations that leverage technological innovations and the energy drive of our young ones.
Mr Adamu Nuru, Managing Director of FCMB Plc, commended Israel for its achievement in agriculture and innovations.
He also praised Israel for sharing its successes with Nigeria.
Nuru said, “We believe this will be a catalyst for ground-breaking innovations that will transform the agricultural sector in our country.
“Nigeria has to catch up with the rest of the world and subsequently in terms of agricultural innovation.”